MANILA, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons, amid a battle through internal issues, scored a momentum-boosting breakthrough at the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at the expense of the winless UE Lady Warriors, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, March 5.
Nina Ytang formed a brick wall against UE’s attacks to finish with a game-high 20 points off 12 attacks, a season-high 7 blocks, and 1 ace as UP rose to 1-2 for the season.
Veteran spiker Steph Bustrillo added 16 points off 10 attacks, 3 blocks, and 3 aces, while Abi Goc provided a bench spark with 10 points.
Feeding off momentum from their second and third-set cruises for a 2-1 lead, the Maroons again broke away in the middle of the fourth frame with a huge 11-2 run, capped by a Boc off-the-block hit, to turn an 11-all deadlock to a 22-13 gap.
Although UP eventually gave up a staggering 16 errors in the frame to help UE catch up to as near as 4, 19-23, the two teams’ separation was just too wide for the Lady Warriors to recover from as Alyssa Bertolano hammered down one last crosscourt kill for the win.
“I’m very thankful to the Lord for the first win of the team,” said new UP head coach Shaq delos Santos in Filipino. “We still had a lot of lapses earlier, but of course we have to appreciate also how well we moved earlier.”
UE captain Ja Lana paced the loss with 14 points, all off attacks, as Vanessa Bangayan chipped in 13 points.
UP will need all the momentum it can get as it next faces a seething NU Lady Bulldogs squad fresh off a historic loss on Wednesday, March 8, 4 pm, at the Araneta Coliseum. UE likewise has a tall task ahead that same day as it kicks off the quadruple-header at 10 am against the La Salle Lady Spikers.
Meanwhile, UE found better luck in the men’s division as it trounced UP also in four sets and also after a first-set loss, 19-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-2 for a 2-1 record.
Kenneth Culabat led the win with 19 points as three other Red Warriors breached double-digit scoring, while Angelo Lagando dropped a game-high 21 points in the loss that sent the Maroons down a 0-3 slate. UE and UP also face La Salle and NU next, respectively, at the PhilSports Arena. – Rappler.com
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